Week 3 Cheater Day

No elliptical this morning.  We’re sitting in a Starbucks near our hotel, where we are staying because we’ve been invited to attend a Chun Hui Qing Nian Gon Yi Fa Zhan Zhong Xin (Chun Hui Young Volunteers) conference.  I’ve just a very tasty oily blueberry muffin washed down with my first grande latte and am considering having another.

I’ve just heard from Cao Jiaxin, our Chinese teacher and friend who is baby sitting our dog, so all is well and good in the world.  I’ve just heard from Elaine.  Must respond.

Week 3 Day 6 Cheater Day Eve

Straight on to the elliptical this morning for 562 calories in 31 minutes.

I worked out while watching “Alice’s Restaurant” for the second time in as many weeks.  It’s worth watching twice, and seems to grow on me.  I’ve always been a big Arthur Penn fan, and Arlo is a culture hero of my time on the planet.
Watching the movie brings back the culture wars between the hippies and the rednecks, all but forgotten now.  I remember being refused service in a restaurant in Sechelt, British Columbia, because my hair was too long and I had a bit of a beard.  “We don’t serve hippies here.”  We knew we were in their faces, and our styles got up their noses.  Why did we do it?  Why do I wear an ear ring to this day?
Speaking of which, an elderly Chinese gentleman in a very classical Chinese garden the other day noticed my ear ring.  He pointed at it, made a gesture of throwing it away, a look of disgust on his face.  “Bu xi huan.” he said, don’t like.  My wife said “Wo xi huan,”  I like.  So here I am in China, still a shit disturber.  Why?  Well I guess the easy answer is I demand authority over my own looks and style.  People like me gave us a world where long hair doesn’t get you beat up in cow towns.  Now you actually have to deserve it to get the boots put to you.  Unless you’re gay or transgendered, of course.  That could still do it.  Bigotry doesn’t die easy, even if we overwhelm it with numbers.

I’m a little concerned about staying on the program today.  We’re leaving at 1:00pm with the Chun Hui Young Volunteers to attend their big conference.  I helped them write the English on their agenda statement, and we’ve been invited to attend.  But that means it may be hard to eat on the program.  I think it will be okay.  Most Chinese feasts include a lot of protein and greens.  If I just avoid the oils and carbofats, I should be okay.  We’ll be there for the weekend, possibly, so I may not get the cheater day report in until Sunday.




Week 3 Day 5

My how the week slides by.  Skipped exercise this morning because we had to invigilate the exit test speaking portion.  Don’t you just love that word, “invigilate”.  Somebody here must love it, because they keep using it.  In truth we did more than invigilate.  We assessed.  The invigilators were busy invigilating in the holding room, before we saw the students.

I’ve only had fruit to eat so far today, two bananas and an orange, and it’s five past one in the afternoon already.  I think I shall have some lunch before climbing on the elliptical trainer.  I’ve plucked away my free time so far today trying to get “Cumberland Gap” up to speed on the banjo.  It’s going to be a couple more days.

We’ve got a penciled in dinner date for next Tuesday, and I’m wondering how I will stay on my program in a Chinese restaurant.  Must think about it.

I went downtown today and got my teeth cleaned.  Painful, but I think it’s a good idea.  I’ve had a terrible time with my gums his past term, and just seem to barely keep them under control with the waterpik and scrupulous dental hygiene.

Finally on the machine after a one hour nap.  Felt very sluggish and bloated.  Still managed to do 565 calories in 31 minutes while we watched TED talks.

We had leftover stew for dinner, with a lot of greens and broccoli.  I’ve been plucking away on the banjo all evening, trying to get “Cumberland Gap” up to speed.  My left hand fingertips are fried.  Just realized I was hungry I peeled a mandarin orange, cut the orange segments in half and mixed them with cottage cheese. Nice snack and on the program.

Now time for more water and to bed.  Feeling good.  Feeling leaner, but when I look in the mirror I still have a long way to go.  But then it’s only week 3.  I must keep in mind that this is an eleven week program.


Week 3 Day 4

Skipping the elliptical this morning.  Unexpected day off.  We’re going for a bike ride to the ancient city of Wuxi, and then possibly to a dentist to get my teeth cleaned.

I’m feeling slender this morning.

Well, I didn’t get to the dentist.  A storm was threatening so we headed home at 1:30 and were home by 3:00pm.  That was a good bit of exercise.  We took some program friendly snacks with us – oranges, banana (for me since Ruth doesn’t like them), hard boiled eggs (we brought the yolks home for GouGou, our dog), and some skinless chicken breast with a bit of leftover greens –  which we ate in a charming little Chinese garden that was almost totally deserted today.

Ruth made a fresh cooker full of brown rice this morning, and left it steaming in our sink with the window open when we went off on our ride.  I cooked dinner.  A small amount of lean pork, onions, Chinese greens, garlic, mushrooms, broccoli with a dash of spices and a bit of soy sauce.  I boiled the meat, onions and mushrooms first in water, then added the greens.  Over the brown rice it was quite an acceptable meal.

I also made another batch of cottage cheese.  My best batch yet.

All in all, a good day.  I’m feeling slender.  But who knows whether that’s real or not.


Week 3 Day 3

575 on the elliptical in 31 minutes. Still dripping but I got on a bit late and now must get breakfast done and eaten so I can shower and get to class. Later for this.

Lunch today, soup, what else.

Ruth made a chicken drummette crock pot for dinner.  Veggies and chicken and potatoes. I think it had a bit too much fat for the program, but I didn’t slurp down the delicious juice and took a small portion.  Okay, and then I went back for seconds.

After dinner we had to go to a meeting.  I had two bananas and two large oranges, which means I ate a lot of carbs with no protein.  Oh well.  I didn’t touch the sweets at least.

Today I’ve again be beset by doubts.  Why do I do that to myself, the doubts I mean. It isn’t logical that I could eat this way and NOT lose weight, eventually.  And I’m not even concerned about weight.  I’m concerned about shape.  But I feel like after the first week’s dramatic results, moving in a hole on my belt, I’m not making any progress now.  Or am I just expecting too much too soon.  I don’t know.

Now I’d like a snack.  What to have.  I still have a bit of cottage cheese left, but I’d like that with breakfast.  An orange?  A banana?  A lump of skinless chicken breast?  Maybe that’s it.

Or maybe I’ll just brush my teeth and drink some more water and then go to bed.  Nope.  One of Ruth’s marinated chicken breast strips caught me.  Very tasty.  Very satisfying.

Week 3 Day 2

588 on the elliptical in 31 minutes this morning.  I’m sitting here dripping.

Woke up this morning with a headache, feeling like a hangover.  Oh no, not the dreaded delayed hangover syndrome.  I don’t think so.  Just low blood sugar, most likely.  I’m off to fix breakfast.  Fingers a bit sore for typing anyway.  I may OD on banjo plucking.  My initial assessment that it was easy still holds, but it isn’t easy if you want to play a tune the way it’s supposed to be played.  Just chording a long with a song is dead simple, even throwing in the occasional bass run.  But not playing Cripple Creek up to speed.  That’s going to take practice.   Go figure, eh.

Not much to report on today.  I should be more conscious of my water consumption.  I’m letting that slip.  But we’ve had nothing but program approved food all day.  Our standard soup for lunch on brown rice.   Ruth cooked a great stir fry again.

Maybe I should talk about our soup.  We have soup for lunch almost every day, but not an ordinary soup.  A really thick, nourishing soup.  It starts off as a crock pot full of water with a piece of lean beef or lean pork or chicken in it, plus garlic, lots of mushrooms, maybe onion, and that cooks until the meat is falling apart.  That’s the stock.  Then we add veggies, usually cabbage but often long beens.  We also add any leftovers from dinner, so the soup is always changing, and it’s usually at its best by the end of the week when we finish up the pot.  I keep expecting us to poison ourselves, but so far it’s just a great way to use up leftovers and make convenient lunches.  Before I went on this program I would usually have some mashed potatoes under my soup.  I’d make a huge batch of mashed potatoes for one of our dinners, and then use up the left over slowly in the soup.  It was always a question of timing to get the left overs used up before they went bad.  But now that we’re on the program I’m having my soup with pre-cooked brown rice.  That’s working out great.

Okay, back to the banjo.  I’ve only got twenty five minutes before ten o’clock, and I shut down all music then for fear of upsetting the neighbors.

Before and to end week 2, it's something.So here are the first of the pictures.  On the left is the picture at the start, and on the right was taken Friday evening at the end of week 2.  It may not be much, but I can see a difference.  Not quite as much hanging over the belt.


Week 3 Day 1

615 on the elliptical this morning in 31 minutes.  I can really feel the energy from yesterdays high calorie foods.

Started 2 more cups of brown rice and made 2 liters worth of skimmed milk into cottage cheese.  Refining my technique.  I don’t think I’ve been heating the milk hot enough.  This time I brought it very near to a boil.  And this time I added the vinegar one table spoonful at a time, so that I didn’t add more than needed.  It took about 10 table spoons to get the milk to curdle, but the result doesn’t taste at all of vinegar.  Also, I’ve accidentally learned how to make large curd cottage cheese.  Since the whey and curds were still quite hot when I put them through the sieve, the curds all solidified into one solid mass.  Then when I chopped it up I had large curds.  Salted it lightly.  I added a bit of whey back in just to make it a bit more liquid, and put the whey in the crock pot for soup stock later.

I don’t really have any ready protein for breakfast this morning.  I had a banana and a couple of spoonfuls of my new cottage cheese.

Feeling good for the day after a cheater day.  No hangover this morning.  I guess the two glasses of huang jiu I had last night wasn’t enough to cause one.  Not like last week with the sake binge.

My fingers are a bit sore from the banjo chording last night.  Surprises me because the banjo feels like a lighter string than the guitar, and I already have guitar callouses.  I guess I’ll have callouses on my callouses now.

It’s been an easy day.  I haven’t been thinking too much about this program.  Not really trying to drink as much water as I’m supposed to.  I find myself haunted by doubts.  Is this really going to make a difference?  But of course it has to.  It simply has to.  There’s no way I can maintain my current shape on this program.  I’ve taken a second look at the photographs.  I can definitely see a change to my shape.  It’s there, and this is only week three.  Have faith.  Give this time.

I’m off to bed.


Cheater Day 2

Okay, I’m over it.   The thing about my weigh in last night that is.   I remember now, the last time I went on the body transplant program, I never even looked at my weight.  It fluctuates wildly, and simply doesn’t matter.  Muscle weighs more than fat.  We are changing shape.  I can see that in my belly profile.  So I’ll continue to do the weigh ins, every Friday, but I’m not going to worry about them.  No doubt they will ratchet down.

No time for exercise before we have to meet our driver to take us to the train station.  Ruth was up early and got on the machine, but I didn’t.  Well, it’s a cheater day after all.  I cooked breakfast.

Breakfast this morning:  sauted a whole mess of mushrooms with garlic and a bit of onion, then threw in seven large eggs and one large tomato chopped up for scrambled eggs.  Slices of French bread with Irish butter.  Mmmmm.  But I forgot to add the cheese to the scrambled eggs in my haste.  I knew it was missing something.  Darn.  Off to Shanghai to buy a banjo.

Back from Shanghai.  We stopped at Starbucks on the way to the train station and I got a vente latte.  I had my banjo by 11:30am, in time to make lunch with Lv Min and Simon at Zen in Raffles Plaza beside People’s Square.  Great lunch.  Dim sum.  Chicken feet.  Ginseng tea, more chicken feet and dim sum and pork with small bun like things.  Great tasty lunch.

Second vente latte at Starbucks on People Square, getting into the banjo while Ruth read her iPad.  Train home and back by 6:00, then to the International Cafe for French fries and beef with noodles and a glass of black tea.  Back home finished off our loaf of French bread and I’ve had a couple of glasses of inferior huang jiu, yellow wine.  Now ready for bed.

A good cheater day.  My banjo picking is coming along.  Lots of progress for a first day.  We’ll see what I can do tomorrow when I’m sober and awake.

Tomorrow I’m back on the program.

Week 2 Day 6 Weigh in Day

How fast the time goes by, and the weight falls off.  This morning I feel  like my belly fat is seriously reduced.  Looking forward to photography and measurements.  I think I’m shrinking.

No time this morning to jump onto the elliptical.  Emergency with data entry for my classes, and I must get some things done before 10:00am.   I’ll do the aerobics later.

Academia fires extinguished by ten o’clock. 583 calories in 31 minutes this morning.  Didn’t seem to sweat as much as usual.  Feeling good energy.  Definitely feeling marginally thinner.

Breakfast once again brown rice with leftover tofu and greens, about a quarter of a chicken breast and a splash of soy, all heated together with a bit of water  in the frypan.  I’m starting to really like this breakfast.  I’ll have a banana after my shower.

Lunch:  soup over brown rice.  Tasty enough, but short on protein.

I had a banana this afternoon, when we got home from shopping.  And this evening, Ruth poached up a delicious salmon dinner with snow peas, asparagus and new potatoes.  Very tasty, even with no butter or oils, and very light seasoning.  A bit of lemon juice on the veggies was about it.

My only regret is that when I weigh myself this evening I’ll be including about three pounds of food.  Oh well.  It’s all going to come out in the wash.

Weigh in tonight:  106.5  Disappointing?

My starting weight was 109.6.  Last weeks number was 106.4kg. So according to this I’ve actually gained a tenth of a kg., despite being strict on this diet.

Okay.  Don’t panic.  What’s happening.  I did eat a big dinner.   Water retention because I’ve had a lot of salt?  Expectations too high?   Scales wildly inaccurate?

But really, I’m seriously depressed by that number.

I was almost ready to scrap the photo session, but Ruth suggested we do it no matter how we are feeling.  So it was done.  Weigh in and photo session done between 9:40pm and 10:05.  I’m not posting the pictures.  There’s no point.  I think I can see a tiny difference, but it certainly isn’t enough to get excited about.  Sigh.

Okay, this can happen.  I’m sure I’m going to ratchet down.  But still. that is a bummer.  Big time.  And yet I feel like I’m thinner, my belt went in a hole (and then back out again).  Can a few pieces of durian do this to me?  Not possible.

Well, if this were easy, everybody would do it.  Tomorrow is a cheater day.  I shall comfort myself with Starbucks for breakfast and dim sum for lunch with Lv Min and Simon in Shanghai.  I shall buy a banjo and pluck away my frustration.


Week 2 Day 5

Thursday morning.  Tomorrow is cheater day eve.

This morning I did 561 calories in my 31 minutes on the elliptical.  Not working too hard, but still worked up a good sweat and got my heart rate up.

Breakfast:  leftover tofu and greens from supper, steamed in the fry pan with some rice and a small amount of skinless chicken breast.  Dash of soy.  It’s starting to be the standard breakfast.  Must seek variety.

Hey,  I just tightened my belt to the third hole from the tip.  What?  It still feels a bit tight in that hole, and I’m sure I’ll relax it to the second again hole soon.  But again, hard data that this program is effective very quickly.

I’d like to hear from Elaine.  How are you doing, Elaine?  Ruth says she’s going to start needing a belt with her trousers.  Oh there Elaine is, in the comments.  She’s having a bit of trouble getting started.  Too bad she isn’t closer.  Ruth and I give each other great support.

Okay, today I had the white of a hardboiled egg as a snack before lunch. (GouGou the dog is making out like a bandit on egg yolks.)  Lunch was chicken soup over rice with bean salad.

After class Ruth and I stopped by the fruit store and each had a section of durian.  Lots of sugar there, but all natural at least.  I bought three bananas and had one when I got home.

Dinner was a whole can of salmon each, with rice and steamed broccoli.  A few fork fulls of the bean salad went into it too.

I’m really starting to feel the difference at my belt line.  I’ve had it cinched in to the third hole from the top all afternoon, and have felt quite comfortable with that.  Very gratifying.  Tomorrow is weigh in and photographs day.  Looking forward to seeing what progress I’ve made, and trying not to get my hopes up too high.